Here, you will find links to some reviews of and comments on our books.
Jules Verne’s Mikhail Strogoff, (limited edition, 2016) reviews and comments
‘Stephanie Smee has done the first new English translation in a hundred years of a French popular classic, Mikhail Strogoff by Jules Verne…A beautiful limited edition book…‘ (Susan Wyndham, Undercover column, Spectrum, Sydney Morning Herald, February 13-14, 2016.)
This limited edition illustrated printing of the classic story tells the tale of young Mikhail’s urgent and secret mission to warn the royal court of impending danger, and his brave friend Nadia, who is as indomitable as he is. Full of adventure, suspense, romance and humour, this English translation will enchant older readers. (Disney Princess Magazine, Bauer Media, March 20 2016)
A terrific adventure in a lovely edition. Christmas Press reminds me why I love books. (Writer Anthony Horowitz)
Stunning and important..Mikhail Strogoff must be the most beautiful book published in Australia this century. (Bernadette Foley, editor, publishing expert, and founder of the Big Country Book Club)
The book reaches Folio Society standards of production.. It is a beautiful object befitting a book of this vintage. If you love books for being beautiful objects, then this is a no-brainer. If you want a good read, well, it’s Jules Verne, so ’nuff said. (Writer, artist and publisher Bruce Mutard)
I read Mikhail Strogoff and it was amazing! I loved it so much! It was incredibly detailed, and the adventure was great. You also got to learn so much about the characters. (Tom, 11, Boston, USA)
An entertaining spy story with a determined heroine at its centre…This is an interesting period of history and Sophie Masson has done her research well. (Magpies magazine, March 2017)
Rosalind Duke is just the kind of plucky heroine I love at the centre of my historical fiction. She’s happy to step outside the social norms of her time and she keeps a cool head about her in thrilling circumstances. And there are plenty to be found in this fast-paced adventure. Sophie Masson is a champion at weaving intrigue and adventure with strong, memorable characters and a touch of romance. (Kids’ Book Review, April 19, 2017)
Recommended for older YA readers this is a carefully-crafted, well-written and fast-paced thriller that involves a young sixteen-year old bilingual English girl who travels to France to help her hapless (she thinks) Shakespearian-scholar father who seems to be calling out to her. Instead, she finds herself befriended by a handsome hero, ensconced in a guesthouse full of young people from different backgrounds, and, ultimately, involved in a strange tale of espionage with nothing less than nihilistic threats to the stability of Europe at stake by assassinations of its leaders. Within this set up Linda happens upon people murdered, betrayals, suspicion, suspense, the usual inscrutable British handlers, and assorted odd and engaging characters. She shows huge resourcefulness and resilience, loyalty and good sense, and is overall a great role model for modern women, although they might not ever have to deal with spy rings. It is a real page turner and if the end is just a little predictable well, surprise endings in novels as in life are not always all they are cracked up to be. Along the way are vignettes of Parisian life and a lot of action and a bit of romance which all add up to a jolly good read. (Sisters in Crime website review, 2018)
Staying with Aunt Rachel, Megan learns acceptance. What she has always believed is now a certainty. Her mother is not interested in her at all. Her entire focus is on her talented younger brother’s needs and her expectations of him. As for Megan’s father, his indifference towards her is painful even to the reader. This acceptance nurtures Megan’s inquiring character. She takes an interest in the old lighthouse and its many hidden secrets. There is something magical and mysterious about it and the lighthouse keeper, whose journals Megan is given access to. The strange pelican that visits her creates a life-changing shift for a young girl who finally finds herself, and her place in the world, in the strangest manner.
There are many sub-stories built into a storyline that keeps the reader engaged from beginning to end. Terrific characters, tension, and well-paced progress, added to lots of unexpected turn-offs through the plot, kept me longing to know what the outcome will be. Then came the completely unexpected ending! (Kids’ Book Review, June 17, 2018)
Tomodachi: The Forest of the Night(2019), reviews:
Simon Higgins, a former police office and private investigator specializing in murder cases, and one of the world’s best martial artists (in the sword art of Iaido), is as it happens also a novelist of meticulous and respectful detail. His new novel is set in a fanciful historical Japan, and it comes with a long glossary at the end which introduces readers to many terms that are important to Japan’s history, its culture and the popularization of art forms such as Manga and Anime.
‘Tomodachi’ means ‘friends’, and the novel revolves around the exploits and journey of three friends. One of them, Daniel Marlowe, a noble-born citizen of the court of Henry the Eight’s Tudor England, is a survivor from a shipwreck; another is a young woman, Otsu-san whose only possession in the world is a doll that has been inhabited by Chiyo, a small god who can answer most questions mortals need to ask about the coming future and present dangers. The third member of this wandering group is Kenji-san, a samurai warrior of great skill, intelligence and wisdom…..This is a novel that will take you deep into another world. Recommended for readers from eleven to sixteen years. (Reading Time, February 25, 2019)
A brilliant, atmospheric novel set in old Japan, this book keeps you on the edge of your seat as you follow Daniel, Otsu and Kenji on their dangerous journey in a land haunted by war, rivalries, assassins–and supernatural beings…
The characters are vivid and believable and the action scenes are superb (Customer review, Booktopia)
Here is a ghost story and a time slip novel in one. Maddy, in the present, has just moved into an old house with her parents and younger brother. She has started at a new high school and is being picked on mercilessly by the “in” group. To make matters worse, her little brother is now very sick. Clarissa, in 1899, is living in the same house with her father, mother and aunt. Her younger brother and sisters died of whooping cough the previous winter and her mother had not been herself since then. Her aunt is awful, but Clarissa starts to suspect her of more nefarious deeds than unkindness. The two girls are connected by a mirror in the room they occupy in different times, and they use it to communicate. They help each other resolve their respective problems, and together put a stop to Clarissa’s aunt once and for all. This is an engaging, creepy ghost story and will be especially enjoyed by fans of the genre. The characterisation is fairly good but the conversations between the characters don’t quite ring true at times. There are interesting comparisons between life in 1899 and the present, especially the differences for girls and women. Appropriate for upper primary and secondary students. (Reading Time, December 14, 2019)
There is a mystery to be solved and lives to be saved and an evil force to be overcome. This time-shifting tale hooks the reader into the mystery with its clever storytelling. The reader wants to join the girls in their quest to remove the evil that lurks in the shadows of both their lives. Maddy tackles the girls at school and makes friends with Gareth but worries time is running out to save her baby brother Cory who has become ill since moving into the house. The only person she can turn to is Clarissa. Meanwhile, Clarissa’s mother’s health is in serious decline and widowed Aunt Lily seems to control everything and everyone in the house. Her strengthening tonic made from plants in the garden seems to not be working. The two girls must use all their intelligence and work together. But will they succeed? This is a gripping middle grade novel that is an original and captivating read. (Buzz Words, September 19, 2019)
Reviews for The Phantasmic Detective Agency, by Julian Leatherdale:
I love this book because it is my favorite mixture of elements: tension, magic, fantasy, history and adventure. I think that Julian Leatherdale has written this book very well and the words he has used to describe the characters make me feel as if I am in their world. I could feel the tension building throughout the book and loved it as my mind tried to piece together the puzzle. It almost felt like I was one of the characters. I recommend this book for ages over 9 because of the violence and spookiness. But for any ages older this is the book for you. It can also be read and enjoyed by adults. (Kids’ Book Review, May 13 2020)
4 thoughts on “Reviews”
A rollicking good story in a modern polished translation. Classy in all respects with historical context that intrigues
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Thank you very much, Jim, so glad you enjoyed the story and the book generally!
Thankyou for this beautiful little book. I read it slowly, savouring it over a week, enjoying the look and feel of this superb luxurious edition, and of course the wonderful translation and terrific illustrations. What a gem.
Thank you so much, Malvina, very glad you love the book!